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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How Improved Focus Will Improve Your Training

How focused are you when you’re at the gym? Are you laser focused on short or long-term goals? Or do you find yourself thinking about what you are going to do later that night, or maybe what you’ll eat when you’re done.

Being able to focus on your workout can maximize your training and your progress. From the overall goals of a workout session, to each individual rep of each set.

It’s not unusual for someone to lose a little focus over time. Here are some of the common reasons why people start to lose focus, and see their gains plateau as a result:

-- Lack of motivation due to gains slowing down.

-- Becoming bored of doing the same training in the same gym.

-- You don’t have any current goals to work towards.

-- Training is no longer one of your main priorities.

If you find yourself in any of these situations, you need to recapture that focus you once had. You need to reignite that fire that used to push you to bench a new personal best, or squeeze out an extra rep. Because that is when you’re making quality gains. You can do this by practicing mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness?

Do you ever have that feeling that you have just been on autopilot? This is commonly experienced when you drive the same way to work each day, or you do repetitive tasks for your day job. You have moments when you suddenly realize you were not paying attention for the past few minutes.

Well mindfulness is being aware of what you are doing at the present moment. It’s being consciously aware of everything that is going on around you, and not going into ‘autopilot’ mode. With mindful thinking comes improved concentration, and with improved concentration comes better, longer, and more rewarding training.

How Mindfulness Can Help Your Training

Friday, May 8, 2015

Full-Body-Weight Circuit -- How To Burn Fat At Home

Sometimes it might be difficult to fit going to the gym into our very busy daily lives. Just because we can’t hit the gym doesn’t mean we can’t get a decent burn from working out at home. These body-weight exercises are proven to give you a great burn, improve fitness, core strength and burn body fat giving you a lean physique.

The intention of these exercises is to concentrate on core strength and endurance. You should aim to complete all exercises in turn without any or with very minimal rest time between each station. I generally set out to complete this full circuit in approximately 20 minutes.

You may be lead to believe that body-weight exercises only work for endurance or fitness, the truth is body-weight training does help with these areas but it also generates or simulates muscle growth and definition. Put together as a body-weight circuit, these exercises can help you achieve a nice physique.

1. Body-weight Squats - 100 Reps

This will really get your heart pumping and legs burning. You may think that body-weight squats are easy and to be honest the first 30 or so are, but this is all about being able to push through when the lactic acid starts to build up and your legs feel heavy. Be sure to keep you back straight, squat down to the lowest point possible without leaning forward and drive upwards through your heels. Pushing up on your toes with move your center of balance forward and you want to keep you core engaged at all times.

2. Crunches - 80 Reps

The trick with crunches is to not let your feet touch the floor no matter how much your abs are burning, this is where the results come from. Lay on your back, cross your arms and place them on your chest or touch your temples with your fingertips. As you crunch from the stomach, raise your knees to the ceiling bending them to 45 degrees then stretching out flat again as your lower your upper body back to the floor. This is one repetition.

3. Push-Ups - 60 Reps

Thursday, May 7, 2015

When Should You Drink Your Protein Shake?

Normal people talk about the latest trends, the weather and what the neighbors are doing for summer vacation. Fitness buffs….we argue about protein. 

Clearly, we're different than everyone else. One of our favorite things to argue about is whether it's better to take your protein shake right before or immediately after your workout. The answer is: it depends on your diet, your workout and many other factors. 

Scientists have uncovered a few things. However, there are a bunch of 'buts' hanging around out there.

Drinking Your Shake After a Workout

Some people say that post-workout protein shakes are the way to go because they support recovery and prevent muscle damage. This might be true if you're engaging in some serious anaerobic exercise, lifting or resistance training where your body takes a long time to recover. Otherwise, the damage is done.

If you're already eating enough protein, a post-workout shake with 20 grams of whey isn't going to improve strength, cardiovascular health or lean muscle mass any more than carbs or anything else. One study did find that whey protein enhanced recovery after intense exercise when it was paired with calcium beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB). 

The researchers found that participants had improved athletic performance and fewer biochemical markers associated with exercise-induced muscle damage.

If you like charging up with a post-workout shake, you have a lot of options, including a few vegan ones. Enjoy these high-protein foods to make your post-workout buzz feel even better.

• Milk, including soy or almond milk
• Hemp protein powder
• Greek yogurt
• Chia seeds

Drinking Your Shake Before a Workout

Friday, May 1, 2015

Free Weights vs. Machines - What Should You Use?

If you are new to bodybuilding the advice is to use free weights. Advanced lifters use barbells and dumbbells in their workout regularly. I don't think there is any competitor bodybuilder that doesn't use free weights.

These days there are plenty of machines in gyms with new companies designing the best ever equipment. But as a lifter you should know your body is designed to overcome the pull of gravity rather than working against machine resistance. Without a doubt the biggest gains you will make in terms of size and strength is from lifting raw iron rather than jumping from one machine to another.

Alternatively machine weights are an excellent way to get back into training, gain a good muscle stretch and additionally work a body-part with intensity. Personally, I suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon last year. After undergoing surgery and a layoff for 5 months, I found machine weights were the best way to get myself going once again.

Benefits Of Lifting Free Weights You May Not Know About

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Why Yoga Has a Place in Your Bodybuilding Routine

Over the last decade or so yoga has become increasingly popular. But why are so many people doing yoga and how can it help as part of a bodybuilding routine?

The interesting thing about yoga is that there is no set demographic that practice, and there are health and spiritual benefits for anyone.

Here are some of the more common benefits to practicing yoga;

  • Improved muscle stamina, strength, and flexibility.
  • Reduced blood pressure and stress.
  • Improves circulation.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Stimulates the immune system.
  • Improves the connection between a person’s mind and body.
  • Improves agility, balance and posture.
  • Helps a person create a sense of peace and calm.

What is Yoga?

Yoga was developed over 5,000 years ago in India, with the first teachings in the US around the early 20th Century. With so many health and fitness fads that come and go, seeing yoga go from strength to strength over time is testament to the results people see.

It’s not just a short term fix for any pain and discomfort, yoga is designed to create a bond between the mind and the body. It stimulates the body’s natural healing process, and yoga practitioners report a wide range of health benefits.

Yoga routines involve forming and holding different postures with your body. Improving strength, balance, and stamina. There are different postures designed to improve agility, flexibility, digestion, balance, and circulation. You can design a yoga plan to suit your own needs, for example, if you are looking for more flexibility you can focus on that.

Using Yoga to Compliment Your Workouts

Yoga stretching has been proven to be an effective stretching workout to prepare your muscles for heavy lifting. The meditation techniques learned during yoga are also beneficial to any workout, helping you regulate your breathing to maximize your oxygen intake.

This allows your muscles to release the tension built up during a workout, and heal more effectively. Anyone who is familiar with heavy lifting workouts know how important preparing and recovering from a workout is. Injuries are all too common and can cause long term damage.

Stretching after a workout is complete, is equally as important for the recovery process of your muscles. Using yoga techniques to stretch and breathe will reduce the chance of cramps, and teach you how to move more freely without clenching your muscles as much.

Benefits of Post Workout Yoga